Businesses in downtown New Bern are getting ready for thousands of tourists expected to visit the city this summer.
This comes after many of them were heavily damaged due to Hurricane Florence.
The storm was devastating for many downtown businesses.
However, those businesses are proving their resiliency once again as they prepare for what they hope to be a busy tourist season.
Visit New Bern said since the storm, the biggest tourism impact has been due to the New Bern Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel being closed.
As a result, the city has lost some business to other markets which has had an impact on many downtown businesses.
Overall, businesses remain optimistic about this year’s tourist season.
Some are in the process of hiring and training workers and stocking up on inventory.
MJ’s manager Ben Lentz said 35 percent of their customers during summer are tourists, anticipating slightly fewer than usual this summer.
“Due to the hotel and convention center being closed down, the local community just has been very supportive knowing that tourism will be affected this summer, so I hope everyone will continue to come out and spend their money downtown to rejuvenate the local economy,” he said.
Lentz said tourism keeps money in their pocket and food in the fridge.
He is hopeful that his business will still be successful this summer despite Florence’s destruction.